Fantastic Four isn’t brilliant but the 1 star reviews are a little hysterical
Fantastic Four is directed by Josh Trank a choice that created a stir because of his work on the well reviewed Chronicle (2012). He also co-wrote the screenplay with Simon Kinberg and Jeremy Slater. This is the fourth attempt at making a decent Fantastic Four film and we get another origins story this time involving travel to an alternate dimension. The Baxter Institute recruits Reed Richards (Miles Teller) out of High School on the strength of a science project on teleportation. Rchards meets up with a Sue Storm (Kate Mara) the adopted daughter of the Institutes leader and her brother Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan). A disgraced former student Victor Von Doom (Tony Kebbell) is persuaded to return to work alongside Richards to perfect a new machine to transport people to the aforementioned alternate dimension. Needless to say the first trip doesn’t go to plan and everyone involved has to look to a future in which they may never be the same again.
One cannot ignore some of the drama in the lead up to the release of this film. There were all sorts of stories about the director turning up drunk, actors not getting along, the studio Fox having too great a say of the final cut of the film etc etc. The rumour mill really got going after Trank ‘pulled out’ of directing one of the Star Wars spin-off films and to put the cherry on top of the cake professional critics were barred from publishing reviews until the morning of its release. I have listed/read some of those reviews after watching the film for myself and was shocked by some of the hatred for this film. Let me be clear, it’s not a masterpiece but it’s not as ghastly as some would have you believe. The first act is pretty good and there are some brief horror inflected moments when the 12A rating is pushed to the limits. The movie falls a little flat during the second act and the final act is over in about 15 minutes leaving the audience thinking ‘is that it’?
Sadly there are a lot of little things, over and above the abrupt wet blanket that is the ending, that we have to talk about. Firstly we are asked to believe that Teller is 18 years old and presumably his friends are in the same ballpark … aha … well I’ll gloss over that one. To stay on the Teller theme he is the weak link in the acting department and while he did the geeky kid thing well the second he tried to be the main action hero it was one of the worst moments of the movie. Kebbell was for me the most charismatic presence on screen so clearly the sensible creative choice was to encase his face in a costume/makeup which hid his lips from view and was blank and emotionless. ‘Hey guys, I’ve got a great idea, why don’t we sew Deadpool’s lips shut?’ Did nobody learn from that film? In this incarnation of Fantastic Four the Storm brother and sister duo are not biologically related but please don’t sit there in vain waiting for an explanation because it never comes. Anything else? Oh yes, I have no idea how the good guys won. Things got punched, we win, yeahhhhhh!
My final rating will probably surprise you and I suspect it will be towards the top end of critic reviews and is driven by the fact that I like the beginning and overall didn’t mind it that much so drum roll please ……… 3/5.